I was just sitting at my desk thinking random thoughts, when I noticed that the guy next to me was wearing Swiftwick socks. Of course my first thought was where did he get those, the only people I know that wear Swiftwick all the time are my adventure racing friends.
So I blurted, are those Swiftwick you have on, and he told me that a friend of his got them at a race and they were the wrong size so he gave them to him. I went into a rant about Swiftwick and how I love the socks. How I have 3 pair and wear them every time they are clean. I have the Performance 4, 5 and 7. I’m not a fan of thick socks, but the Performance 4 and 5 socks I have are thicker than what I usually wear, and I have really grown to love them even though I told my teammate Chuck, “there is no way, I’m going to like these socks they are way too thick”. I got into the compression sock game a couple years ago, but I had to buy the socks that came to my knee to get compression, but now I love the shorter version of compression socks, when I wear them my feet never swell like they used to after long runs. These socks don’t slip around when I’m running through creeks and I have never once had a blister from wearing them. The Performance 7 socks I really like for the higher compression on my legs, I sometimes even wear them to bed the night after a long workout. Plus they were a special run for Bonk Hard, and are really cool looking with a BH on them. And socks isn’t the only thing they make, I also have a great pair of arm warmers with all the same qualities of the socks.
When I write a review, I like to use the real world experience I have with the product, and my opinion of course, to talk about gear. My teammate Chuck is just the opposite, he will dig around and find all the technical reasons why he likes his gear.
Because that’s what matters! No one cares about all that touchy-feely stuff.
I have been a fan of Merino wool socks for several years. But the big-name brand I used to wear has problems. They are expensive and they wear out way too fast. The fibers get ‘packed’ and ball up. Also the fibers just plain fall out leaving you looking at daylight through a little bit of nylon mesh right where my heel rides, and on the bottom of my feet. On top of that, it always seem like they are made overseas. Oh sure they have a lifetime guarantee that clearly says *Normal wear and tear is not covered by the guarantee. What’s the point of a lifetime guarantee with exclusions like that?!
Enter Swiftwick. I first heard about them at the 2010 National Championship race where all participants were given a pair. I was impressed because 1-they were free, and 2- they were merino wool. Maybe these would be the socks I have been searching for. I didn’t wear them during the race but was determined to check them out as soon as we got home.
First thing I noticed was the Made in USA decal. Gotta like that. Check out this quote from their website: "We decided to make all our products in the USA. Not some. Not most. All." Yeah!
Second was the materials, I already knew about the benefits of Merino wool. Soft feel, less stink, cool in summer, warm in winter, no blisters. It also has extraordinary wicking, you can run or ride in them all day even when wet. But Swiftwick takes it to a new level with 21 micron Merino wool in a 200 needle count, and a 3 inch minimum staple length.
The thing that was new to me was the compression. I was skeptical but tried them anyway… And was totally sold. I’m sure you’ve all read or heard about the benefits of compression on recovery and race performance. But here’s something I noticed on top of that. The compression of these socks hold so perfectly snug against your feet, that any relative motion between your foot and sock is non-existent. That means NO blisters. The same compression seals out trail debris, sand, dirt, and vegetation bits. And that means NO blisters. The Pursuit 4 socks that I prefer run up a little higher over the ankle where the Swiftwick double welt compression cuff never slips or slides down. I even think it helps prevent rolled ankles.
I’ve worn these socks for a year and ½ now and they are still in like-new-shape. But after experiencing the failure with the big-name brand socks I thought I’d at least look into the Swiftwick guarantee. Plain and simple:
" 'THE BEST SOCK YOU'LL EVER WEAR - GUARANTEED'
Purchase a pair of Swiftwick socks and put us to the test. It's the best performance sock you have ever worn, or we invite you to mail the laundered socks and request a replacement pair of equal value.
We want you to be happy!
We will send a pair of black or white socks to you, even if you request a competitor's product (subject to availability)."
Nice to know, but I don’t think I’ll ever need it. These socks are awesome. That is exactly why Swiftwick socks are the preferred brand worn by ROCK Racing. http://www.rock-racing.blogspot.com/